Jhumpa Lahiri, who gave us The Lowland and The Namesake and not to forget, a memorable performance by Irrfan Khan and Tabu in the movie inspired by the book, celebrates her birthday on July 11. Lahiri’s books have been an inspiration, especially the central theme in all her writings — the intricacies of relationships and families. She is known for her descriptions of the various events that enfold in a family — marriage, birth, ailments, departures and even death.
Here are 10 quotes that defines Jhumpa Lahiri, some which she said, some which she spoke through the characters she wove.
* When she gave us travel sermon, on point!
“You are still young, free. Do yourself a favour. Before it’s too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.”
* When she knew the lazybones that we are, and gave us an immediate solution — books!
“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
* When she assured us how to embrace our nerd selves as much as we do our groomed selves.
“He owned an expensive camera that required thought before you pressed the shutter, and I quickly became his favourite subject, round-faced, missing teeth, my thick bangs in need of a trim. They are still the pictures of myself I like best, for they convey that confidence of youth I no longer possess, especially in front of a camera.”
* When she told us how fiction was beyond mere tales written for our pass-time, and is much more.
“Fiction is the only way I know a human being can inhabit the mind of another human being.”
* When she talked about her regrets.
“And yet she could not forgive herself. Even as an adult, she wished only that she could go back and change things: the ungainly things she’d worn, the insecurity she’d felt, all the innocent mistakes she made.”
* From The Lowland, where she reminded us how important it is to take time off for ourselves and sit back.
“Isolation offered its own form of companionship, the reliable silence of her rooms, the steadfast tranquility of the evenings.”
* From The Namesake, where she tells us about an endearing gift.
“She has the gift of accepting her life.”
* From The Lowland, where she tells how our perfectly laid out plans for the future can go for a toss.
“Most people trusted in the future, assuming that their preferred version of it would unfold. Blindly planning for it, envisioning things that weren’t the case.”
* From the Unaccustomed Earth, where she tells us how we were not alone when we were been/are being hopelessly romantic.
“That the last two letters in her name were the first two in his, a silly thing he never mentioned to her but caused him to believe that they were bound together.”
* And then, how most of us could end up, as a result of being hopeless romantics.
“She supposed that all those years of loving a person who was dishonest had taught her a few things.”
The quotes tell us how unabashedly honest Jhumpa is, not just when she speaks about humans and emotions, but even when she portrays them.
Here’s wishing Jhumpa Lahiri a very happy birthday, and wishing more books by Lahiri come our way.
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